Crowds of people from all over the globe have been flocking to downtown Denton this week for Thin Line, a documentary film and music festival, and Saturday was no exception.
Festival director Joshua Butler said Wednesday’s opening night was record-breaking, and the crowds have since been keeping steady.
“We already sold more pre-passes this year than we sold tickets for throughout the entire festival last year,” he said. “I think we have seen a good rough estimate of 3,000 to 4,000 people already and [Saturday was] the longest day.”
Box offices opened at 8 a.m. Saturday morning and the first screening began at 10:30 a.m. — a second showing of When We Were All Broncos, a documentary film about how the Denton High School football team helped desegregate Denton. After the second show sold out, a decision was made in the afternoon to add a third showing at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Fine Arts Theater.
The Denton-centric documentary has brought huge attention by locals to the festival and that’s something attendee Rebecca Roberts-Wolfe, director of Cast in Sand: Najla and Agaila, said needs to happen.
Roberts-Wolfe, from New Mexico, said that while she is loving her first-ever film festival and her time in Denton, she hasn’t met many locals who know about the documentaries being shown.
That is one reason Butler said the music was brought in this year for the first time in the festival’s seven-year history, with more than 100 musical acts performing over the five-day festival along with the more than 50 films that will be shown.
Music drives the people of Denton, he said.
“We talk music and by generating some buzz around what we already have a love for, people learn more of what the festival is all about and might even see a screening or two,” he said.
Denton High senior Davida Rios said she came to the festival for the first time a few years ago with her dad. This year, she returned, and on Saturday she was on her second day of screening the short film programs.
“It’s just really interesting to see so many different cultural perspectives on things,” Rios said.
Kim Phillips, vice president of the Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the festival’s economic impact will not be fully known for another week or so, but with people staying in area hotels and shopping and dining along the downtown Square, revenues for the city are sure to have increased.
“Even volunteers and workers out and about are stopping by and enjoying a drink or grabbing a bite to eat with our local businesses while enjoying the festival,” she said.
Joe Lopez, director of sales for the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, said his facility is the host hotel for the festival. This year he said he has 25 percent more directors booked than last year.
Lopez and Phillips both commented on how the directors and musical acts are mingling within the town, creating a “synergy” that they say Denton is known for.
“It’s just good exposure for us,” Phillips said. “I saw Denton was featured on a homepage to one of the documentary websites.”
Butler said that overall, the festival has seen an increase in foot traffic and money being poured into the event.
“Expenses also went up, so hopefully everything just evens out at least,” he said. “I’m just excited about all the feedback that’s been generated.”
Today is the last day of the festival and events begin at noon.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.